Moving To & Living in Washington, D.C.

Living in Washington, D.C. & Moving to DC

Moving to Washington D.C. or the surrounding areas, also known as the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia), can be an exciting experience. You may be moving here to take on a new job, advance your career, attend school, work in politics, or just be closer to our nation’s historic areas. Whatever your reason for moving to Washington, D.C., there are many factors that can influence where you choose to live, what type of home or area is right for you, and how your choice will impact your quality of life, finances, and daily lives. 

On This Page: Find A Home, Affordable Neighborhoods, Wards in Washington, D.C., Cost of Living, Transportation & Commute, Schools Near Washington, D.C., Things To Do, Reviews of The Oldfather Group, Contact Us

Finding a Place to Live Near Washington, D.C.

D.C. itself offers a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe. If you’re looking for a trendy and walkable area, consider Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, or Logan Circle. If you’re on a budget, you might want to look at neighborhoods in Maryland or Virginia, such as Arlington, Alexandria, or Bethesda. Annapolis is also not far away.

Whether you’re renting, retiring near Washington, D.C., or buying a home in Washington, D.C. - finding the right neighborhood for you and your family is a key piece to ensuring your move is a positive step forward. We encourage our clients to make a list of area amenities and offerings that are “must” haves, and another list that is “would like to be near.” If you’re an avid outdoors person, being close to Rock Creek Park may be important for the hiking, biking and other outdoor sport it offers. If you’re a big baseball fan, walking distance to Nationals Park may be important - so south of Capitol Hill or Southwest Washington neighborhoods might be great spots for you to begin your search. Maybe you're looking for Fort Meade off-base housing.

Wherever you end up - starting your search with a plan, budget, and a great realtor by your side is a recipe for success. Give our team in Washington, D.C. a call today!

What Are The Most Affordable Neighborhoods Near Washington, D.C.?

While specific deals can pop up anywhere for a variety of reasons, some neighborhoods tend to offer more opportunities for those looking for value while home shopping near Washington, D.C. Here are a few areas to consider - they areas may have lower property values currently, but hold promise for future growth. Explore options like:

  • Brightwood: Offers green space, parks, and amenities with potential for appreciation.
  • Columbia Heights: Increasingly popular, with a mix of residential and commercial areas.
  • Brookland: Known for historic charm and becoming a renter hotspot, potentially leading to future value increase.
  • Trinidad and Woodridge: These offer good locations and a more suburban feel at potentially lower costs.

Check out our lists of the best places to live in Washington, D.C. and the best retirement communities near Washington D.C.

Considering A Move?

The Oldfather Group are expert real estate agents in Delaware, serving all of DE (including the DE shore), MD shore, and Chester/Delaware Counties in PA.

How Do “Wards” Work in Washington, D.C.? How Does This Impact Real Estate? 

Washington, D.C. is divided into eight geographic regions called wards. These wards act as the foundation for local representation and influence various aspects of city life, including real estate. Here's a breakdown of how wards function and how they can impact your decision to buy or rent in D.C.

Washington, D.C. Wards as Local Government

Each ward elects a single member to the D.C. Council, which acts as the legislative body for the city.

Council members advocate for the needs and priorities of their respective wards. This means wards with higher populations or distinct demographics might have different focuses on issues like public transportation, education, or zoning regulations.

D.C. Ward Impact on Real Estate

  • Ward Priorities and Investment: Wards with a focus on development and attracting residents might see more investment in infrastructure, parks, and amenities. This can lead to rising property values and a more vibrant real estate market.
  • Zoning Regulations: Zoning laws, which dictate how land can be used (residential, commercial, etc.), are often determined at the ward level. Wards with stricter zoning regulations might have a higher concentration of single-family homes, impacting housing availability and affordability.
  • Community Vibe: Wards can develop unique identities based on their demographics, history, and resident priorities. This can influence the real estate market by attracting specific demographics seeking a particular lifestyle. For example, a ward with a high concentration of young professionals might have a thriving market for apartments and condos.

What to Consider When Choosing Which DC Ward To Live In

  • Research ward priorities: Look into the council member's platform and the ward's focus areas to see if they align with your needs.
  • Zoning regulations: Understand the zoning laws in your chosen ward to know what type of properties are allowed and the potential for future development.
  • Community vibe: Consider the overall feel of the ward and if it aligns with your lifestyle preferences.

What Is The Cost of Living In Washington, D.C.?

Let's be up front here, you’re right, it’s expensive. Housing costs in Washington, D.C. are some of the highest in the country, with a median home price around $614,100 and average apartment rent at $2,400. However, the high cost of living is somewhat balanced by the high median household income of $85,200. Most people who move to Washington, D.C. are doing so because of a job - and jobs in the area tend to pay much above the national average due to the high cost of living. There are deals to be had in the area, if you know where to look. A great DC Realtor is going to be your best asset when looking to buy in a market that is as expensive, and fast moving, as the areas near Washington, D.C. 

Transportation & Commutes Near Washington, D.C.

The D.C. metro area has a good public transportation system, with buses, trains, and even a few streetcars. However, it can be crowded and slow at times. The average commute time around Washington, D.C. is 43 minutes one way. While the average resident spends 32 minutes getting to work, how you travel and where you start and finish that journey play a big role. This isn't a one-size-fits-all situation. Commute times across the city's eight wards range from a breeze at 26 minutes in Ward 2 to a trek of 36 minutes in Ward 7. Looking beyond D.C. limits, the wider metro region clocks in at an average of 35 minutes, grabbing the unfortunate title of third-worst commute in the nation according to the US Census, 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Many people who work within Washington, D.C. commute from outlying communities or even adjacent states, especially Maryland and Virginia. Luckily there is a good public transportation system in the area - but that doesn’t make up for the fact that a short commute can sometimes take quite a while, whether you’re driving yourself, carpooling, or taking the bus or train.

Parking in Washington, D.C. can be a hassle as well - which is why the public transportation system is well-used and oft-times crowded. These are all factors you must consider when moving into or near Washington, D.C. If you’re planning to commute to work, be sure to factor in travel time when choosing a place to live.

Thinking of Moving To/From Here?
The Oldfather Group are expert real estate agents in Delaware, the MD shore, and Chester/Delaware Counties in PA.

School Options In And Near Washington, D.C.: From Daycare to College

The D.C. metro area offers a variety of educational options for all stages of your child's life. Here's a breakdown to help you navigate the choices:

Early Childhood Education (Daycare):

  • Options: You'll find a mix of daycare centers, in-home daycare providers, and preschool programs.
  • Quality Considerations: Research accreditation (e.g., National Association for the Education of Young Children) and look for programs that foster social, emotional, and cognitive development through play-based learning.

Elementary and Middle School:

  • Public Schools: D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) offer free education with some schools performing very well. However, there can be disparities between schools.
  • Charter Schools: D.C. has a significant number of charter schools, which are public schools with more autonomy over curriculum and operations. Research individual schools to find the best fit.
  • Private Schools: Numerous private schools offer a range of educational philosophies and religious affiliations. Consider factors like cost, curriculum, and class size.

High Schools:

  • Public Options: Similar to elementary and middle school, there are DCPS high schools, high-performing charter schools, and various private schools.
  • Focus and Specialization: Some public and charter high schools have specialized programs focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), arts, or career and technical education.

Post-Secondary Education Options:

The Washington, D.C. area boasts a prestigious selection of colleges and universities that are all within daily commute distances. If you’re moving to the area for school, or are hoping to keep your kids nearby for their college years, there are many choices within an easy commute.

  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • American University
  • Howard University
  • The University of Maryland, College Park

Depending on where you live near Washington, D.C., the University of Virginia is also a commutable distance.

As a cultural and governmental hub, there are many opportunities for education within the Washington, D.C area - and the opportunity to make adjustments if your first choice doesn't meet your family’s needs. Moving from a mainstream public school to a charter school is possible a with very little logistical hassle, there’s likely quite a few choices in or near the neighborhood you’ve chosen to relocate to.

Things To Do in Washington, D.C. That Make It A Great Place To Live

Washington D.C. is a fantastic place to live offering a unique blend of history, culture, and exciting activities. Here are just a few diverse some reasons why you might love living in the nation's capital:

  • Steeped in History: Washington, D.C. is a living museum, brimming with iconic landmarks and monuments that tell the story of the United States. From the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial to the Arlington National Cemetery, you can step back in time and learn about the nation's rich heritage.
  • World-Class Museums: The Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex, calls D.C. home. There are over 20 museums showcasing everything from art and natural history to space exploration and air and spacecraft. You can also explore museums beyond the Smithsonian Institution, such as the National Gallery of Art, the Newseum, and the National Geographic Museum.
  • Thriving Arts Scene: D.C. boasts a vibrant arts scene with something for everyone. Enjoy renowned performances by the Kennedy Center Orchestra or The Washington National Opera. Catch a play at one of the many theaters, or explore the diverse offerings at smaller venues and studios.
  • Outdoor Activities: Despite being a bustling city, D.C. offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. Relax in the serene beauty of the National Mall or explore the serene trails of Rock Creek Park. Peddle along the scenic Potomac River or take a boat tour for stunning views of the city skyline.
  • Cultural Delights: D.C. is a melting pot of cultures, reflected in its diverse cuisine. Explore international restaurants serving Ethiopian food, authentic Italian fare, or delicious Vietnamese pho. Each neighborhood offers unique culinary experiences, allowing you to embark on a global taste adventure.
  • Lively Events: Throughout the year, D.C. comes alive with exciting events and festivals. Celebrate Independence Day with dazzling fireworks displays or witness the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring. From seasonal celebrations to street fairs and cultural events, there's always something happening in the city.

Washington, D.C. clearly has activities for nearly everyone - from high-society to camping and hiking getaways. The proximity to the East Coast and the ocean make this a great place for a home base on the Eastern side of the United States. A major international airport with daily international flights to nearly any destination in the world make Washington, D.C. a major cultural hub.


Ready to call Washington, D.C. home? With so much to offer, it's no wonder this historic and vibrant city is a top choice for many. But navigating a new city, especially one with a competitive real estate market, can be overwhelming. That's where The Oldfather Group comes in. Our experienced realtors can help you find the perfect neighborhood, negotiate the best price, and ensure a smooth relocation process. Contact The Oldfather Group today and let us turn your Washington, D.C. dream into a reality!

Contact The Team at The Oldfather Group for Help Today!

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Reviews of Real Estate Agents Near Washington, D.C.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "It’s our pleasure to recommend Oldfather Group to anyone wanting to buy or sell their home. Being new to the area and after having an extremely frustrating experience with another reality group in the area, we decided to give Dustin and the Oldfather Group a try. From helping us decide on a listing price, to prescreening buyers, through all the negotiations, and then handling all the legal issues and paperwork our overall experience was excellent. Attention to detail was superb as well as their quick response time to all our questions and concerns. We had an administrative assistant assigned specifically to our contract which helped a lot. Consequently, the settlement was a breeze. Over the years we have used many Realtors and unquestionably the Oldfather Group was the best." -Allen Sangree

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This team has it all. They’re professional, knowledgeable and responsive. Looking to buy or sell a home, contact them today!" -Jon Cohen

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "If you need to buy or sell, this is the agency to call! We had a very pleasant selling and buying experience with this highly experienced group. Our agent... was innovative, thorough, creative, knowledgeable and professional!!" -Deborah Von Stetten

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